By Victoria Ojeme
The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is organising a high-level parliamentary seminar on 20 years of democratic elections in West Africa in Ghana’s coastal city of Winneba from October 13 to 22, 2021.
The theme of the event is: “Evaluating Two Decades Of Democratic Elections In The ECOWAS Region: Achievements, Challenges And The Way Forward” is expected to see President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo deliver the keynote address
The President of Ghana and current Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo is expected to attend this important meeting where he will deliver the opening address.
The objective of the seminar is to assess the electoral systems in the ECOWAS Member States to identify the challenges and proffer solutions to the shortcomings in the organization of elections.
After several decades of democratic system practice based on elections and multiparty politics, the issue of level of consolidation of democracy has remained unanswered, given the political and institutional instability, observed in many countries of the region.
It is within this context that the ECOWAS Parliament, a platform of dialogue, consultation, and promotion of democracy in ECOWAS Member States, is organising this high-level seminar.
Academics, experts in political science and electoral systems, as well as media professionals will animate the various panels, which will be moderated by Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, former President of the ECOWAS Commission.
The seminar will be followed by the 2021 Second Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament, from 18 to 22 October 2021, also in Winneba. The session will be mainly focused on the consideration and adoption of the draft of the 2022 budget of the Community Parliament.
The ECOWAS Parliament is composed of 115 seats. As for attribution of seats, each Member State is guaranteed a minimum of five seats. The remaining forty seats were shared in proportion to the population of each country. Based on this distribution, Nigeria has 35 seats, Ghana 8, Cote d’Ivoire 7, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Senegal have 6 seats each. The other countries, namely Benin, Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo all have 5 seats each.